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So...what are we doing there? Anyone? Anyone?
August 5, 2008 1:54 PM   Subscribe

In a new GAO report it's noted that the Iraqi government will have a $79 billion dollar surplus by the end of the year (accumulated from 2005-2008). All of this is on top of the $48 billion dollars that the US has contributed to Iraq since 2005.

“The Iraqi government now has tens of billions of dollars at its disposal to fund large scale reconstruction projects,” said Mr. Levin, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in the statement. “It is inexcusable for U.S. taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for projects the Iraqis are fully capable of funding themselves. We should not be paying for Iraqi projects, while Iraqi oil revenues continue to pile up in the bank,” Mr. Levin said.
posted by jourman2 (40 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Time to set up a BMW dealership in Baghdad!
posted by WPW at 1:56 PM on August 5, 2008


I'm not that well versed in this sort of thing, but doesn't that just mean that they haven't been spending as much as they've been taking in?
--meaning that a budget surplus might not necessarily be an indicator of well-being.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:00 PM on August 5, 2008


...err, i should have just RTFA'ed.
That said, considering that we (that is, the people who are supposed to be representing us) were the ones who brought about so much destruction in the first place, I have no problem with paying for reconstruction.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:04 PM on August 5, 2008


You break it, you buy it.
posted by dilettante at 2:11 PM on August 5, 2008 [10 favorites]


"So...what are we doing there? Anyone? Anyone?"

Toppling tyrants? Building democracy? Protecting minorities?
posted by MarshallPoe at 2:11 PM on August 5, 2008


Nah.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:19 PM on August 5, 2008


So...what are we doing there? Anyone? Anyone?

I remember hearing (reading?) that one of the reasons the US went to war in Vietnam was because of a serious addiction to Asian women acquired during the war with Japan.

Was there something we got in the Gulf War that we needed to go back for more of?
posted by mmrtnt at 2:21 PM on August 5, 2008


Providing huge revenue streams for Halliburton and Black Water?
posted by quin at 2:21 PM on August 5, 2008


Toppling minorities and building tyrants.
posted by fusinski at 2:21 PM on August 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


I remember hearing (reading?) that one of the reasons the US went to war in Vietnam was because of a serious addiction to Asian women acquired during the war with Japan.

That's slightly inaccurate... it was because J. Edgar Hoover had become addicted to dressing like Asian women.
posted by XMLicious at 2:29 PM on August 5, 2008 [6 favorites]


"“The Iraqi government now has tens of billions of dollars at its disposal to fund large scale reconstruction projects,” said Mr. Levin, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in the statement. “It is inexcusable for U.S. taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for projects the Iraqis are fully capable of funding themselves. We should not be paying for Iraqi projects, while Iraqi oil revenues continue to pile up in the bank,” Mr. Levin said."

What a bloody wanker. Maybe you shouldn't have blowed the crap out of that infrastructure in the first place. What's inexcusable is you expect the victims of your bombing campaigns to pay for the privilege of being a target. If the Iraqis want to spend their money on hookers and blow while the US is building bridges you shouldn't be asking them for anything but a party report.
posted by Mitheral at 2:41 PM on August 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


They must be really good with money. I can't even balance my checkbook!
posted by mattbucher at 2:41 PM on August 5, 2008


If the Iraqis want to spend their money on hookers and blow...

Now that's what I call democracy building!
posted by mmrtnt at 2:46 PM on August 5, 2008


So Shia warlords are more fiscally conservative than Republicans?

Well, at least it's saving me tax-dollars. Your grandkids can pay the interest on those Chinese loans.
posted by orthogonality at 2:50 PM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Mitheral writes "If the Iraqis want to spend their money on hookers and blow while the US is building bridges you shouldn't be asking them for anything but a party report."

Wait, the Iraqi gvernment is bankrolling the Republican Convention in Minneapolis??
posted by orthogonality at 2:52 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why not have our govt borrow money from Iraq and perhaps get a special low interest for our help in putting them on an economic recovery program that has worked for them if not for us?
posted by Postroad at 3:03 PM on August 5, 2008


They must be really good with money. I can't even balance my checkbook!

Yeah, but what is there to buy over there?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:17 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Light Fantastic writes "Yeah, but what is there to buy over there?"

"KFC", "WMDs", and O-I-L.
posted by orthogonality at 3:29 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


What a bloody wanker. Maybe you shouldn't have blowed the crap out of that infrastructure in the first place. What's inexcusable is you expect the victims of your bombing campaigns to pay for the privilege of being a target. If the Iraqis want to spend their money on hookers and blow while the US is building bridges you shouldn't be asking them for anything but a party report.

In fairness, Saddam's regime had stretched the infrastructure and institutions to the breaking point before the invasion. Of course, that doesn't excuse the US for acting like a bull in a china shop once there.
posted by The White Hat at 3:34 PM on August 5, 2008


In fairness, Saddam's regime had stretched the infrastructure and institutions to the breaking point before the invasion. Of course, that doesn't excuse the US for acting like a bull in a china shop once there.

Actually, the UN sanctions did a pretty good job of causing the infrastructure to fall apart too.
posted by rollbiz at 3:43 PM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


In fairness, Saddam's regime had stretched the infrastructure and institutions to the breaking point before the invasion.

This was a result of economic sanctions, though. If they'd been able to trade freely they'd have had a lot more money to build infrastructure. Yeah, he built palaces, I realise this.

Still...the Bush administration's course of actions has been to:

1. Go along with UN Security Council with sanctions and then
2. set up Halliburton subsidiaries in France to trade with Iraq.
3. Coin term 'Freedom Fries'
4. Blow up their shit and kill a million of 'em.
5. Tell 'em they need to build their own infrastructure with their own money now that the tyrant is gone (ha!).

So, what happened is that a million people are dead and they have to use their own resources to build back what should have been built in the first place had they not been under a big thumb.

Something else is going on here...I think...
posted by jimmythefish at 3:50 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Iraqi government now has tens of billions of dollars at its disposal to fund large scale reconstruction projects,” said Mr. Levin, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in the statement. “It is inexcusable for U.S. taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for projects the Iraqis are fully capable of funding themselves. We should not be paying for Iraqi projects, while Iraqi oil revenues continue to pile up in the bank,” Mr. Levin said."

No worries. I've just burned Mr. Levin's home to the ground and stomped on all of his possessions.

Of course, he has a savings account, so there's no reason for me to pay for any of this.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:57 PM on August 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


So the price of democracy ... is somewhere just south of $80B?

Huh.
posted by bhance at 4:10 PM on August 5, 2008


dunkadunc writes "That said, considering that we (that is, the people who are supposed to be representing us) were the ones who brought about so much destruction in the first place, I have no problem with paying for reconstruction."

Iraq had plenty of engineers who would've been happy to rebuild the country at bargain prices. The hilarious part is that the reconstruction contracts were handed to US firms without the Iraqis getting a chance at them. So a lot of the "reconstruction" was under-the-table transfer of wealth from taxpayers to contractors, with shoddy reconstruction of Iraq as a side effect.
posted by mullingitover at 4:13 PM on August 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


Good for them, now let's get out.
posted by empath at 4:14 PM on August 5, 2008


Levin wants to come across as the good guy in this. His leadership in terms of helping put an end to this war is lacking. He's had opportunities to make a difference and has chosen not to.
posted by HuronBob at 4:29 PM on August 5, 2008


So the price of democracy ... is somewhere just south of $80B?

No, that's the price of a puppet government. Not sure how much democracy costs: haven't seen any for sale recently.
posted by Clay201 at 4:52 PM on August 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


And in an odd financial twist, large amounts of the surplus money is sitting in an American bank in New York — nearly $10 billion at the end of 2007, with more expected this year...

Yeah, man, odd in the extreme. I mean, there's just no way anyone in the US government could have planned it that way.
posted by Clay201 at 4:54 PM on August 5, 2008


They should probably just give all that money to Halliburton as a gesture of gratitude for its indispensable service to their fledgling democracy.
posted by The Straightener at 5:23 PM on August 5, 2008


A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon we'll be talking about real money.

Who Said the War Would Pay for Itself? They Did!
posted by kirkaracha at 5:53 PM on August 5, 2008


$79 billion dollars isn't *shit* for a country the size of Iraq. Not shit. How many days' worth of the War On Whatever is that?
posted by facetious at 6:46 PM on August 5, 2008


You break it, you buy it.

I wish we just bought it. It would have been cheaper than breaking it. We probably could have paid for the airlifting, housing, and college education of the entire population of the fucking country for what it cost us to turn it into a terrorist training camp.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:31 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


But paying for their education would be COMMUNIST!^@%!&^#%*!@#(!&^@#*!# OMGWTF
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:45 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


$18-23 billion should be sufficient to return Iraq to the status quo of 2002. Going further: a total investment of $50 billion should be sufficient to return Iraq to a semblance of its condition circa 1989
posted by KokuRyu at 7:55 PM on August 5, 2008


"KFC", "WMDs", and O-I-L.

I don't know what the "scare quotes" are for, I thought it's been well-established that Saddam had acquired the Colonel's secret recipe from Niger, but shipped the "failure bowls" to Syria before we invaded.
posted by Challahtronix at 8:41 PM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Maybe they'd like to invest in some mortgage-backed securities. I hear there's a few for sale around here.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:17 PM on August 5, 2008


Not sure how much democracy costs: haven't seen any for sale recently.

Then you haven't been paying attention.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 4:48 AM on August 6, 2008


Iraq had plenty of engineers who would've been happy to rebuild the country at bargain prices. The hilarious part is that the reconstruction contracts were handed to US firms without the Iraqis getting a chance at them. So a lot of the "reconstruction" was under-the-table transfer of wealth from taxpayers to contractors, with shoddy reconstruction of Iraq as a side effect.

Actually, the reconstruction isn't that bad. Almost none of the contracts went to British firms. Crap work maybe done but use of the term shoddy requires the Queen's approval that proper units of shoddiness are being used. The BACW (British Association of Construction Wankers Workers) campaign for the full shoddy is looking out for you.
posted by srboisvert at 9:24 AM on August 6, 2008



Nahh. We're destroying weapons of mass destruction.
posted by notreally at 1:42 PM on August 6, 2008


Wait, the Iraqi gvernment is bankrolling the Republican Convention in Minneapolis??

Wait, where do you think the Republicans are holding their convention?



I just had to say it. I'm a Saint Paul guy.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:48 PM on August 6, 2008


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